[tabi] Re: What is the lighthouse of the big bend trying to hide

  • From: Elizabeth Bowden <esbowden@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 5 Sep 2015 09:20:22 -0400

Hello Owen,
Thanks for making that point. I agree.

Sent from my iPhone

On Sep 4, 2015, at 7:40 PM, Owen Mccaul <mccaulo@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Wow. I'm so glad someone came along to set all of us ignorant blind folk

Am I the only one that found this condescending?

-----Original Message-----
To: tabi <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Fri, Sep 4, 2015 3:56 pm
Subject: [tabi] Re: What is the lighthouse of the big bend trying to hide

Hi Folks

I don't get a chance to be on e mail very often, just every few days. I've
just had the chance to read the e mails that have arrived in the past 24
hours or so.

Norine, I respect your decision to remain in a role of supportive counseling
to blind people, particularly those at the Lighthouse. There is always a
risk of liability when serving on a Board, and your decision reduced that

I understand fundraising is not the mission of the Lighthouse. However, the
State does not provide all of the funding necessary for the delivery of
services to the Blind, and fundraising is a key component to longevity in the
not for profit world. Another function a board provides is long term
planning. The article I attached cautions against taking a board arbitrating
personnel issues and recommends it serve only as a court of appeal in the
rarest of circumstances. If there are good policies and procedures and
grievance protocols, hiring, developing and releasing staff is left to the
director. Rarely, about one or two times a year, I do read about directors
who embezzle (mentioned by Robert in a query to me). I joined this thread
because I understood you to be debating the role of a board in governing an
agency. I don't believe there has been any accusation of embezzlement, so I
am puzzled by that question.

Robert made a statement that the services provided by the Lighthouse used to
be provided without the non profit agencies and were provided better is
interesting. If that's a scenario that can be documented, maybe that's a
model that could be adopted. How were services delivered at that time? Were
they still funded by the State? Were the funds available then more or less
what is available now? I asked that because I wonder what happened when
there wasn't enough money for the blind folks who needed services.What do you
feel would be a better model for delivering services? When I worked at the
We Care Network, we filled a gap where services were disorganized and rarely
effectively delivered to our clients. Without our agency, thousands of
people would not have received services at all.

At our agency, our director did not need to know about being ill or uninsured
to run a good organization. She needed to know how to provide
administration, represent our organization to the larger community, fund
raise, work with contracts, hire and fire people, maintain the physical
plant, and negotiate with vendors. It was important that she hire good
staff. It sounds like you are saying the Lighthouse here in Tallahassee is
not staffed well and that the people who work there are not qualified. Does
that mean, the people who are delivering the services to the blind community
are not trained and qualified to provide those services?

When I was at the We Care Network, we served visually impaired people who
could not access the medical care they needed. In private practice, I
provide counseling to a number of individuals who are visually impaired,
although their blindness is often only one of the issues with which they are

Lynda, you stated what the Lighthouse needs is a Director with good
administrative skills and a knowledge of blindness. To me, that is one of
the most sensible things I have read in this thread. I believe one of the
earlier emails indicates the position was advertised for only one week.
Actually, it was advertised for a full month, from July 24th through August
24th. That's a very good thing; it means a wide variety of candidates have
had a chance to reply.

Robert asked if Barbara and I are friends. Yes, we are both friends and
colleagues. I did not and will not be applying for the job. I believe I
explained I am a psychotherapist in private practice. In fact, I agreed with
you that it makes sense for the position to be widely listed in some of the
forums you mentioned. In my earlier e mail, I suggested you might approach
the Board at the Lighthouse about re-advertising the position in case likely
candidates were overlooked.

I am not writing in defense of Barbara. I saw the subject line in this set
of e mails, and it caught my interest. The statement: "What is the
Lighthouse of the Big Bend trying to hide" is inflammatory, and I was curious
about WHAT they ARE trying to hide. But, when I read the string of e mails,
I realized the conversation seems to indicate a lack of understanding about
the boundaries between:
1. a board and an agency
2. a board and the staff
3. the director and the staff and
4. the boundaries between any employee and the community at large.

I am writing in hopes that, with my experience, I can help the group better
understand the functions and boundaries of each of these components. I
joined the list serve yesterday because someone I know in the blind community
was talking about it in a private dialogue. That person was concerned about
the inflammatory nature of the comments what sort of impact that could have
on services to the blind community as a whole. Our state government
continues to cut funding for human services of all kinds, and education and
health are greatly affected. I hope you will consider how you can best
support the organization which delivers services to make it the very best one
we can have, strong and diverse and long lived, with or without state

Thanks all, for listening. I hope the attached article is useful.


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